Friday, 21 June 2013

Flavours of South African Dessert: Buttered Dumplings

Yes, another very high GI dish of note. Deliciously sinful.

This one from a cook book that we recently unearthed from our stash of packing cases after our relocation. Some packing cases just defy unpacking.

This cook book was first published in 1977, with my copy being part of the fourth print in 1988. Spys en Drank, Die oorsprong van die Afrikaanse eetkultuur, by Renata Coetzee, published by Struik Uitgewers in Cape Town.

A book about the origins of the South African culinary culture. Complete with 167 authentic South African recipes. A wonderful source of information on traditional dishes.

Given the blustery cold weather here in Cape Town, I turned to page 113 for the recipe on “Souskluitjies.” Buttered dumplings with cinnamon sugar. A very traditional South African dessert.

The recipe is almost a no-brainer, but delicious and rich. Only seven ingredients. How difficult can it be. The original recipe does not call for any spices other than the cinnamon, but it works a lot better with a touch of vanilla.

I had a double yolk egg. Nice and fresh.
The traditional recipe also calls for normal flour plus baking powder. This puts the origin of the recipe post the introduction of baking powder in the Cape Colony, probably around the late 1890's. This then puts the origins of my recipe probably into the early twentieth century. I would welcome some feedback on this, my info is sketchy.

I grew up having this as a special treat on a Sunday. The best version was made by my late aunt, swimming in butter and using fresh eggs that have not been in cold storage. You get a nice yellow colour. I was lucky and recently received a present of such eggs, some with double yolks.

I used self raising flour. A modern short-cut if you please. Makes it even easier to prepare this dish. And you have to use butter, real butter. Not margarine or any other substitute, it just does not work. You get an ersatz flavour. Been there, done that...

This recipe is enough for 4-6 midget sized dieters. Scale as required for normal sailing or other outdoorsy types of hungry people. Especially when it is cold outside. This dish will go well as dessert after a stewed or baked meat dish.

Ingredients for the original recipe

1 cup  flour (120g)
10 ml (2 teaspoons) baking powder
1 ml salt (¼ teaspoon)
12.5g (1 dessert spoon) butter
1 egg
125 ml (½ cup) milk
Cinnamon sugar
extra butter for the sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla essence. This is my variation.


Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly. Rub the butter into the flour mix. Mix the milk and egg. Add Add the dry mix to the milk and egg, stirring to ensure a proper batter mix. Add the vanilla essence here if you want to. The batter should be on the thick side, more like thick syrup rather than a flapjack mix.

Fill a wide saucepan to about and inch (25mm) with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring this to the boil. Now scoop teaspoons full of the thick batter into the boiling water. Make sure than the dumplings don't touch. Turn the dumplings over to cook on both sides. Cook till done, then scoop out with a slotted spoon into a suitable dish. Fill the dish with a layer of dumplings, dot liberally with butter and a layer of cinnamon sugar, then add the next layer.

The water remaining in the saucepan should be nice and thick with leftover bits of the batter. Thicken this by mashing some of the bits, add some butter and sugar. Add a little water if required. Bring this to the boil and pour over the dumplings.

Voila, real traditional 'souskluitjies'!

Serve hot.

Authored by Johan Zietsman.

Last updated on 2013-06-21


  1. I made these for breakfast the other day for my family, and they loved them. I didn't use as much sugar as I would have for a dessert, and by the pictures, probably not as much butter as you did.

    This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for posting it!

    1. Thanks for sharing! Having grown up with this dish as a dessert, I would not have made it for breakfast, but your version would work just fine.